Los Angeles Lemon Law

Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorneys

Los Angeles County was home to over 7.6 million registered vehicles in 2021. Many of these vehicles belong to families and businesses within Los Angeles itself, and much more travel daily through Los Angeles to get to work.

In heavy Los Angeles traffic, a safe, reliable vehicle is essential. Vehicle breakdowns and dangerous defects can quickly turn into significant problems. Los Angeles residents may choose to buy or lease new vehicles each year. As consumers, they expect an car, truck, EV, or SUV to operate safely and reliably for their everyday use. However, when a vehicle turns out to be a lemon, these expectations are replaced by frustration, stress, and unacceptable risk. If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, talk to an experienced Los Angeles lemon lawyer today. The team at Wirtz Law APC is here to answer your questions about your vehicle and help guide you on the next steps.

Most Common Lemon Vehicles in Los Angeles

Millions of vehicles fill Los Angeles’s streets, but not all vehicles are likely to be lemons. Just a handful of vehicle manufacturers have accounted for nearly half of all lemon law claims in California from 2018 to 2021. These include:

According to the 2022 Auto Lemon Index, consumers argued that their cars have major defects, relating to their steering, brakes, transmission, engine and electrical failures. In addition, other lemon law claim studies have discovered that particular manufacturers produce more lemons compared to others.

An AutoGuide analysis of lemon law claims filed in 2015 found these automakers had the highest rate of claims per vehicle sold in North America:

Studies on 2022 models for various vehicles have indicated that these automakers’ track records aren’t improving when producing reliable vehicles.

Unreliable Vehicles

The Consumer Reports rated several automaker vehicles poorly when it came to reliability. They include:

  • 2022 Ford Explorer: Consumer Reports rated its reliability 8/100.
  • 2022 Ford Mustang: Consumer Reports rated its reliability 9/100.
  • 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan: Consumer Reports rated its reliability 17/100.
  • 2022 Chrysler Pacifica: Consumer Reports rated its reliability 18/100.

Not all unreliable vehicles are lemons. To meet the lemon law standard set by California lemon law, a vehicle’s unreliability must persist despite at least two attempts to fix the problem. The vehicle must also meet other legal requirements.

How Do I Know If My Vehicle is a Lemon?

California lemon law applies to vehicles when:

  • A consumer purchased the vehicle new or certified pre-owned (CPO) from a manufacturer or dealership.
  • An original manufacturer’s or CPO warranty applies to the vehicle and the problem.
  • A consumer purchased the vehicle for personal use or specific business uses.
  • The vehicle is a covered type of vehicle.

California lemon law covers nearly all types of passenger vehicles: EVs, SUVs, cars, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans. It also covers the chassis, chassis cab, and drivetrain of a motor home.

California lemon law covers certain trucks used for business purposes. A business may seek protection under lemon law if:

  • The company owns five or fewer vehicles total; and
  • The suspected lemon has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) under 10,000 pounds.
Vehicles covered by Califorina Lemon Law

Not all Vehicles with Issues are Lemons

Not every vehicle with a problem is a lemon, even if the car is new. If a problem is fixed after a reasonable number or attempts, the vehicle won’t qualify as a lemon under California law.  If the problems do not substantially impair the use value or safety of the vehicle, it may not qualify as lemon.

A vehicle is a lemon if the manufacturer or dealership cannot fix the problem after a reasonable number of attempts, which can be as few as two repair attempts. The repair attempts can be for different defects.  It doesn’t have to be the same part that is repeatedly repaired.  As long as each defect substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle, it may qualify as a lemon.

If a car is a lemon, the owner or lessee is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price. The owner may choose whether they want a replacement vehicle or a refund. A refund can also cover expenses such as taxes, financing, registration fees, and out-of-pocket expenses for related repairs. Importantly, the manufacturer pays your attorney fees and costs and expenses when you get a refund or a replacement.

When California Lemon Law Doesn’t Apply

California lemon law doesn’t apply to all vehicles currently operating on Los Angeles streets. There are several common reasons why the lemon law won’t cover a particular car, including the following.

The consumer purchased the vehicle in a private sale.

California lemon law does not apply to private vehicle sales. Vehicles bought and sold in private sales change hands “as is.” The vehicle’s buyer accepts the car in its existing condition, even if that includes a dangerous defect or a persistent problem.

To protect themselves during a private sale, buyers should take the car to a mechanic they trust before agreeing to buy it. The mechanic can inspect the vehicle and provide an informed opinion about its safety and reliability.

The manufacturer’s warranty or CPO warranty no longer applies.

Lemon law only covers vehicles that have had repairs under a valid manufacturer’s or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. If the contract has expired or no longer applies to the repairs, California lemon law does not apply.

An extended warranty doesn’t qualify a vehicle for lemon law protection. Since warranty law can be complex, it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney if you need help understanding how your warranty might apply.

The issue stems from add-on or aftermarket components.

California lemon law applies only to problems covered by the original or CPO warranty. Because these warranties do not cover add-on or aftermarket parts, California lemon law doesn’t cover damage resulting from these parts either.

If an add-on or aftermarket item is defective or damages the vehicle, you may have a claim against the distributor of the aftermarket component. An attorney can help you choose the best course of action.

If You Think You Have a Lemon

If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, talk to an experienced Los Angeles lemon lawyer as soon as possible. When choosing a lemon lawyer to help with your claim, look for:

  • Experience

    Look for law firms with a track record of successful lemon law claims and actual trial experience. These attorneys have experience handling such claims well. They know the lemon law, they know the automaker’s games and tricks, and they know what to do to win.

  • An Appropriate Fee Structure

    California lemon law allows successful vehicle owners to recover attorney fees and costs and expenses from an automaker. Experienced lemon lawyers often take cases on a contingency basis. When they win, they receive their payment directly from the automaker; if they lose, they do not charge you for their services. Understand how your lemon law attorney will be paid before agreeing to work with them.

  • Communication

    During an initial consultation, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Look for a lawyer who answers your questions in a way that helps you understand your legal rights. Your attorney should provide enough information to help you make informed decisions and ensure that you know the legal process for your lemon law claim.

  • A Willingness to Fight for You

    Experienced lemon law attorneys know that most lemon law claims don’t go to court – yet they prepare as if every case might go to trial. Look for a lawyer who fights for maximum damages under the California lemon law. Ask how the attorney negotiates settlements and how they decide that a case needs to go to court instead of being settled.

Protect Yourself

You can also take steps to help your lemon law claim succeed. Collect all the paperwork related to your vehicle and its issues, and keep it in a safe place. However, if you have trouble finding all paperwork, do not panic. Our legal team will be able to gather necessary information through litigation. Types of paperwork that can help support your lemon law claim include:

  • Your vehicle’s manual;
  • Sales brochures;
  • Copies of your purchase or lease paperwork, including the warranty; and
  • Service records from the manufacturer or mechanic showing what repairs were attempted and dates.

California’s lemon law requires an automaker to pay for a vehicle owner or leaser’s attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses if their case succeeds.

How to protect your interests in a lemon law case

A History of Results

Wirtz Law has successfully obtained recoveries for our clients in excess of $40 million.

$632,141.03

Our client, the plaintiff, purchased a brand new 2014 Focus for $40,007, including add-ons and financing. Within three days, the transmission began to slip and…

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$204,824.91

Our client, Sam P. purchased a new 2010 BMW X5, as a premium luxury SUV to enjoy in his retirement and to use for safe…

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$130,373.37

Matthew J. and Marisa J. bought a used 2011 Dodge Durango to be their primary family vehicle, to be used to drive to and from…

Read More

Los Angeles Lemon Law Frequently Asked Questions

Client Testimonials

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorney To Discuss Next Steps

If your car, hybrid, EV, SUV, or truck, is experiencing substantial or repeated issues, you should speak with one of our Los Angeles lemon law attorneys at the Wirtz Law APC. Our firm focuses on helping California consumers get the compensation they deserve after purchasing a lemon. Our team has a well-earned and well-deserved reputation as motor vehicle consumer advocates. Our Los Angeles lemon law team has a proven track record. We fight for our clients so that they receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn about your legal options.

If you are looking for a California Lemon Law firm, look no further than Wirtz Law APC. If you are fed up, have had enough, and think your car is a lemon, call us at (858) 879-3557 for a free no obligation evaluation. If your vehicle is a lemon, we will take your case at no charge to you on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Lemon Law attorney services everywhere in California, including Southern California, Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California.

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